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Nuclear Medicine Fights Cancer

Image courtesy of the University of Missouri Research Center Reactor Center. 


In the fight against cancer, nuclear medicine may be one of the best tools in a physician’s arsenal. Silvia Jurisson, a researcher at the University of Missouri, continues to develop breakthrough nuclear materials and methods used in the detection and treatment of cancer. She and her interdisciplinary team recently received a U.S. patent for a new delivery method that uses nuclear isotopes to help target, diagnose and treat cancer. The patented method, highlighting Jurisson’s more than 30 years of research work, could prove invaluable in battling prostate, pancreatic, breast and small-cell cancers in the body.

“In nuclear medicine, radiotracers are isotopes that, in extremely low concentrations, can be used to image and treat cancer,” said Jurisson, professor of chemistry and radiology in the College of Arts and Science and a research investigator with MU Research Reactor (MURR). “They provide the delivery vehicles necessary to get treatments into the nooks and crannies of the body where cancer cells usually hide.”

Jurisson and her team used three components to create the new delivery method for the peptides and medicine needed to diagnose and treat cancer. Arsenic 72, an imaging and diagnostic isotope, or Arsenic 77, a radiotherapeutic isotope, were attached to trithiol, a stable radioisotope. Trithiol then can be combined with medicine or diagnostic molecules. When the isotope complex is injected, it effectively “seeks out” and binds with cancer cells, delivering the proper medicine.

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Campus: UMC
Key words: Health, Innovation, MU Campus, Science, Technology,
County: Boone

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